KPAC Blog

The KPAC Blog features classical music news and analysis.  From a detailed look at Wagner's masterpiece "Parsifal," to an inside look at the Latin Grammys, the KPAC Blog features writings about some of the music played on air as well as other interviews and essays about classical music.

Pages

Classical Music
2:52 pm
Sun August 3, 2014

Beethoven's 'Eroica,' A Bizarre Revelation Of Personality

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:07 am

As Beethoven set about composing his Third Symphony, his hearing was failing and he felt certain his life was about to get worse. That it was born in a moment of despair may help explain why the finished work, for all its grandeur, is extremely odd — employing devices that are by turns aggressive and mundane, somber and practically danceable.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
11:40 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Meet The Cast Of The Met Opera's Labor Drama

Members of the American Guild of Musical Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, two of the unions embroiled in contract negotiations with Metropolitan Opera management, rally this morning at Dante Park across from Lincoln Center.
Jeff Lunden for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 12:37 pm

Think opera plots are tough to follow? Try wading through the complicated drama playing out offstage at the Metropolitan Opera. At its most basic, it's the story of management and labor unions fighting over a supposedly dwindling pot of money.

Read more
KPAC Blog
2:34 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Did The Tobin Center Pass Last Night's Audio Test?

YOSA perfoms at the first public event at the Tobin Center.
Nathan Cone

There was another significant milestone in the world of San Antonio arts this week, and it was at the nearly finished Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

The Tobin Center has been the focus of a huge amount of attention the past few years but now it’s coming down to the wire. Connecticut company Akustiks' job was to create the good sound you’ll hear there.  

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
1:49 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

On The Eve Of A Possible Lockout, Met Opera Talks Remain Contentious

A worker unveils posters Tuesday for the coming season of New York's Metropolitan Opera. The Met's fall schedule could be in jeopardy if failed labor negotiations result in a lockout Friday.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:12 am

At the Metropolitan Opera, drama is usually onstage. But for the past several months, it's been in the newspapers.

Contract deadlines for 15 of the 16 unions at the Met in New York are set to expire at midnight tonight, and negotiations will likely go down to the wire. A lockout shutting down the world's largest opera house seems imminent.

Management wants concessions from the unions to offset dwindling ticket sales. Union employees think they're being asked to pay for unchecked spending.

Read more
KPAC Blog
4:15 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Symphony Player's Day Job More Like A Calling

Steve Zeserman.
Steve Zeserman

If you ever see a list of people who are perpetually dissatisfied or unenthusiastic, here’s a name you won’t find there.

“My name’s Steve Zeserman and I play double bass in the San Antonio Symphony.”

His optimism is palpable, and you can hear it when he talks about anything. From his days in college at the Curtis Institute of Music:

“I guess it was similar to eating caviar every day for four years, the richness of the culture,” he said.

To landing his job with the San Antonio Symphony:

Read more
Classical Music
10:56 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Brilliant, Bloody Music

Credit Albany Records

Classical music, for all its beauty, has always had a violent streak, whether in the plots of operas, as inspiration for the music, or on rare occasions, in the concert hall. But an arresting new release on Albany Records makes no bones about the music within. Sporting a stylized illustration of a woman holding a bloody knife, the album's title reads in block letters, “Deep Water: The Murder Ballads.” (It's my favorite classical album cover of the year.)

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
10:54 am
Sun July 27, 2014

War Of Words At Met Opera May Signal Shutdown

Bryn Terfel as Wotan in the Met's production of Wagner's Ring cycle, one of the productions that has been criticized by some as too costly.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 12:32 pm

When an opera company is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations, the results can be dramatic. This week, the war of words between unions and management at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the world's largest opera company, escalated. An Aug. 1 shut down now seems likely.

At the center of the debate is the ballooning Met budget, which stood at $200 million in 2006 but has since climbed to more than $325 million. Met General Manager Peter Gelb asserts that union salaries and benefits are his biggest costs, accounting for two-thirds of the operating budget.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

Read more
KPAC Blog
2:23 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

No Offseason Fiddling Around For Symphony Player Aimee Toomes

Aimee Toomes with Skype violin lesson.
Janet Toomes

The San Antonio Symphony’s season is done and won’t start until September. So what are all those musicians doing with their time?  I found out at least one of them isn't exactly kicking back for the summer. Aimee Toomes, who plays violin in the symphony, was one of those kids who picked up an instrument early.

“I started playing violin when I was a fourth grader in public school, and 20 something years later I’m a violinist with the San Antonio Symphony,” she said.

She’s no slouch when it comes to how she learned her trade.

Read more
KPAC Blog
1:48 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What Does The Opening Of Tobin Center Mean For The Majestic Theatre?

The ornate inside of the Majestic Theatre.
Credit Courtesy photo

I've probably had half a dozen people worriedly ask me, "What's going to happen to the Majestic after the Tobin opens?" So I decided to ask the person most likely to know if there any truth to the rumor that the Majestic Theatre will be closing down after the Tobin Center opens.

“No truth to that rumor, not at all," said Mike Rilley, who is the Majestic’s general manager.

“The Majestic’s got next year probably as much programming as we’ve ever had,” he said.

So I asked him to detail exactly who's coming to the Majestic.

Read more

Pages